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View Full Version : Why use a walk behind when you can use zturn rider?


tyaroch
03-03-2008, 02:44 PM
I am new to this forum and I can not understand why some of you use walk behinds. It seems they would be a lot more work and a lot slower than a zturn. It also seems like they would be hard on your body. I am sure I am ignorant to the facts, but I just can't figure it out. I know small zturns are available.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
03-03-2008, 02:47 PM
Quality of cut, for me, is the main factor. A small walker and especially a 21" will outcut a Z quality wise. I base my business on quality, not speed, and charge for that. Thus the 21"/WB combo works for me. But my business model is not for everyone...

outrunjason
03-03-2008, 02:49 PM
Well from what I know customers hate it. You put a 32" mower on there lawn and you might get away with it. A 36" is going to get some looks and maybe a complaint. I don't use anything larger than that.

The walk behinds are just easier to handle. The guys get them on and off the trailer quick. I think they give better cuts and in small lawns and tight areas the walk behinds are great.

kpyoung
03-03-2008, 02:51 PM
I like the cut of the walk behind over the z-turn but would replace the walk behind with another z-turn if twe could fit 2 z-turns on the trailer.

tyaroch
03-03-2008, 02:58 PM
Ok, Thanks Guys

IN2MOWN
03-03-2008, 03:02 PM
Depends on the size of the yard. Why anyone would put a zero turn on a 5000 sq ft yard is beyond me. And to be honest most guys who just do residential dont need a $9,000 rider.

IA_James
03-03-2008, 03:02 PM
They also cost about 1/2 what even a modest Z does.

outrunjason
03-03-2008, 03:03 PM
Yeah speaking of this topic I have been thinking of running ZTR's on a lot of our houses. I know several that we could do it on and get away with it. But it does take up a lot of room on the trailer. Also I HATE CHANGING THE HEIGHT. Someone has to come up with a better way to change the height. At least on my Lesco it's annoying.

But like I said and the other guy said the cut is just not the same.

tb8100
03-03-2008, 03:20 PM
If you're comparing a hydro walk and hydro Z, center of gravity is about the only advantage of a wb. Zs are much more productive in wide open spaces. Larger engines, faster cuts, etc. Now if you're talking gear drive fixed deck walks, they cost so much less than hydros that startup companies and companies cutting small accounts really need those over something like a large Z.

SILVERSTREAK INC
03-03-2008, 03:26 PM
you cant beat a walkbehind on a hill, try cutting the same hill over and over with a z, youll rut the heck out of it after awhile

theres an easy 550 pound weight difference between a 60" walkbehind and a rider, i love the quality and look of the walkbehind, especially when going around tons of tree rings and beds, the walkbehind dosent squash down the edge or tear turf like a rider will

but on wide open spaces, a rider is the only way to go

coonman
03-03-2008, 03:37 PM
Price of the mower, lower fuel costs, lower repair bills and easy to use and transport. These are few advantages of a wb, and on small gated properties, they are king in my opinion.

UrbanGreen
03-03-2008, 03:46 PM
With fescue down in Atlanta I have to use wb because of the weight issue. We found thru most of the summer months the weight of the riders stress the lawn out and leaves horrible burn marks. We always cut a lawn at least 4 different ways before repeating the cut patterns and it will still stress it out and kill it. The only fescue we can get on with our riders are very well shaded lawns.

Big C
03-03-2008, 03:58 PM
IMO...advantages of a WB verses a Z are: COST, QUALITY OF CUT,BEST MOWER FOR THE TYPE OF ACCOUNTS I SERVICE, WON'T RUTT LAWN, FITS IN GATED BACKYARDS, CAN WALKBEHIND IT TO TRIM AND THEN DROP THE SULKY TO CUT THE OPEN AREAS (2 MOWERS IN 1) you don't have to own a big ztr in this business to make $$$$ -there is money in this for us "small guys" too!

jcthorne
03-03-2008, 03:59 PM
A good commercial walk-behind is not much cheaper than a ZTR. Expect to pay $7,000 for a Exmark Turf Tracer or something comparible. Both machines have advantages, but I believe a hydro walk behing leaves a much better cut and it doesn't RUT the turf nearly as bad as a heavy ZTR. WB's also keep the operator more alert because it takes more concentration to stand and operate than a sit down type mower. This minimizes the amount of mistakes an employee makes when cutting in tight places or around objects that can be overlooked if not paying attention.

As far as speed goes, ZTR's are faster but WB's can cut up to 7MPH and realistically there are few instances where you can cut faster than that in my neck of the woods and still do a quality job. Obviously WB's are much more versatile but if you're cutting a flat field area with no irrigation a ZTR is hard to beat.

lawnkingforever
03-03-2008, 04:01 PM
Like alot of people here, my set up is 36"WB and 20" pushmower. I have a couple of larger accounts that a ZT would save me time on though. The customers like the cut of the smaller mowers also. Other reasons include cost of ZT, would need to buy new trailer, and storage of unit. My 10X8 shed fits all my equipment and the garage can still fit 2 cars, but barely.

Happy Frog
03-03-2008, 04:12 PM
Yeah speaking of this topic I have been thinking of running ZTR's on a lot of our houses. I know several that we could do it on and get away with it. But it does take up a lot of room on the trailer. Also I HATE CHANGING THE HEIGHT. Someone has to come up with a better way to change the height. At least on my Lesco it's annoying.

But like I said and the other guy said the cut is just not the same.

All Bad Boy ZTR's have an electronic deck adjustment and adding the foot assist option allows you to jump obstacles and curbs in a split second.
Have a look at the 2300 ZT 36... As good cut as any other but commercial grade ZT2800 transaxles motors

Valk
03-03-2008, 04:12 PM
Personally, I'll get a Stander before a ZTR. Your feet, ankles, knees, and hips are bio-shock-absorbers...and when seated your back is all that remains to absorb all the constant shocks.

ProStreetCamaro
03-03-2008, 04:17 PM
We started with walkbehinds and now own nothing but ZTR mowers and all we do is residential lawns. Who ever thinks a WB cuts better is on crack. They cut the same.

Example pictures. These are just average size lawns but they look great being cut with either a ZTR or a WB but I will run circles around anybody that uses a WB.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v426/prostreetcamaro/Jul24_0001.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v426/prostreetcamaro/5-14-07002.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v426/prostreetcamaro/Tankstripes004.jpg

And lets throw in a 34Z cut. This was taken with my camera phone so dont mind the terrible picture quality and the fact the lawn has disease at the time.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v426/prostreetcamaro/P1020067.jpg




Dang those big ZTR mowers sure do destroy residential lawns :rolleyes:

mowerbrad
03-03-2008, 04:19 PM
Most companies will have both Z's and wb's. Some properties are so small that a Z is just too large to be manuvered in the yard while a wb is able to get in and mow the tight areas. Z's are no doubt very productive but when you can't use the Z without doing damage or feeling uncomfortable you have to turn to a something else that can get the job done.

ProStreetCamaro
03-03-2008, 04:21 PM
Most companies will have both Z's and wb's. Some properties are so small that a Z is just too large to be manuvered in the yard while a wb is able to get in and mow the tight areas. Z's are no doubt very productive but when you can't use the Z without doing damage or feeling uncomfortable you have to turn to a something else that can get the job done.



:laugh: I cut a townhouse with the 34Z! Its no bigger than a postage stamp! :laugh:

MikeKle
03-03-2008, 04:25 PM
I prefer WB's but on my larger wide open accounts i wish I could sit down rather than stand on a velke for 2 hrs. at a time! WB's are so much more versatile when it comes to tight spaces and hilly terrian. I have seen somebody that makes a seat that mounts to a velke/jungle wheel,etc. I wish I could remember who makes it. That would make those large spaces alot more easy to do! Overall, it just depends on what type of accounts you service.

topsites
03-03-2008, 04:30 PM
Don't worry, I've been wondering for 6 years now why the first-year Lco insists on buying the most expensive machine on the market, how they can afford to go 20 thousand in the hole without steady income.

But the two can not be compared like that.

They're not the same machine, each size and type of mower is designed to handle certain types of land, size for one... A Ztr does best in flat out, wide open terrain. Doesn't have to be perfectly flat, but the longer the straight stretches the better. The Wb on the other hand does just as well in the more constricted areas, it is far more maneuverable so it doesn't waste much time in the turns.

Cost for another, the Z literally costs twice as much to operate.
It costs twice as much to buy, it eats twice the fuel, and the parts are far more expensive. On the upside, the Z goes farther between maintenance spells, but it requires costlier tools (at the very least a low profile floor jack, I have an $80 aluminum racing jack I use, works great but compare this to a $15 jack stand all you need for the Wb).

Affordability, the issue here is what if the business fails?
I know yours won't, but what if?
I can get a used Wb for a thousand, paid for cash.
With the Z I'm still stuck making payments.

Then the Z costs more to drive around, as in behind you, in the trailer.
That thing will reduce the FE / mpg of your truck, the Wb hardly affects it.
And it weighs a lot more, so at least I have to drive slower, take it easy when that big thing is back there.

Weight factors go further, sooner or later you get stuck, like in a ditch.
You might think you can get either mower out some kind of way, but I know from experience once those wheels are deep in the mud there's nothing doing.
Now I can pull the Wb out with the truck and a tow rope, 20 minutes total and it's outta there.
The Z on the other hand first requires disconnecting the hydraulics, then it weighs so much it might take a winch.

Just some things to think about.

stuffdeer
03-03-2008, 04:35 PM
I can get my Z to cut as good as any walkbehind I've ever seen cut.

And, being 44", I use it everywhere.

Here's some pictures of it's cut.

(Pay no attention to the edging of the curb)

stuffdeer
03-03-2008, 04:37 PM
Don't worry, I've been wondering for 6 years now why the first-year Lco insists on buying the most expensive machine on the market, how they can afford to go 20 thousand in the hole without steady income.

But the two can not be compared like that.

They're not the same machine, each size and type of mower is designed to handle certain types of land, size for one... A Ztr does best in flat out, wide open terrain. Doesn't have to be perfectly flat, but the longer the straight stretches the better. The Wb on the other hand does just as well in the more constricted areas, it is far more maneuverable so it doesn't waste much time in the turns.

Cost for another, the Z literally costs twice as much to operate.
It costs twice as much to buy, it eats twice the fuel, and the parts are far more expensive. On the upside, the Z goes farther between maintenance spells, but it requires costlier tools (at the very least a low profile floor jack, I have an $80 aluminum racing jack I use, works great but compare this to a $15 jack stand all you need for the Wb).

Affordability, the issue here is what if the business fails?
I know yours won't, but what if?
I can get a used Wb for a thousand, paid for cash.
With the Z I'm still stuck making payments.

Then the Z costs more to drive around, as in behind you, in the trailer.
That thing will reduce the FE / mpg of your truck, the Wb hardly affects it.
And it weighs a lot more, so at least I have to drive slower, take it easy when that big thing is back there.

Weight factors go further, sooner or later you get stuck, like in a ditch.
You might think you can get either mower out some kind of way, but I know from experience once those wheels are deep in the mud there's nothing doing.
Now I can pull the Wb out with the truck and a tow rope, 20 minutes total and it's outta there.
The Z on the other hand first requires disconnecting the hydraulics, then it weighs so much it might take a winch.

Just some things to think about.

I disagree with you here.

My hydro Releases are quite easy to reach. I can almost get my Z outta mud by myself. Grab front caster, and twist the whole mower.
If I can't do it, I guareentee my truck will get it out as quick as your truck and your walkbehind.

stuffdeer
03-03-2008, 04:50 PM
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a217/stuffdeer/PICT0220.jpg

naturescape
03-04-2008, 10:28 AM
I have only used walk behinds; most of my properties are under 5K sq. ft., many are 2 - 3K. It's just a lot faster to use a WB. Although with me getting older (44 now) I think I may need a ZTR on the trailer one of these days.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is mowing on hot days. If you are standing up behind a WB (I ride on a Proslide, SMOOTH ride), you get some air circulation. Seems like it would get awfully hot sitting down on a ZTR on a 92 degree day.

Budget
03-04-2008, 01:06 PM
Steep Hills..... I had my scare once and that's all it takes for me, no second try. That's why i have a WB on my trailer. I don't care how much any one claims how well their machine can hold a hill, a number of problems could arise like drive belts that come off or soft ground conditions that were not there the week before. If you have all flat property's then you can get by with a Z.

landscaper22
03-04-2008, 01:24 PM
I am new to this forum and I can not understand why some of you use walk behinds. It seems they would be a lot more work and a lot slower than a zturn. It also seems like they would be hard on your body. I am sure I am ignorant to the facts, but I just can't figure it out. I know small zturns are available.

I ask myself this all the time. I know each mower has its place and advantages. But I go for the Z over the walkbehind any day of the week. My WB sits in my shed just about all the time.
I can use my 48" Z on 90% of the properties that many would use a walk behind on. The other 10% of the properties that may have a small gate with a huge back yard, or may be on a steep hill, I will just price them higher and use a 21" or just turn them away.
Again, each mower has pros and cons. But, as you said, WBs will work your arms to death, they are more aggravating to adjust the decks, and they are slower than the Zs. If that is all someone has ever used, then I guess they don't now any better. But as for me, I will stick with my Z mower.
One can argue that a WB produces a better cut. I have not seen that to be the case. In the end for me it is all about productivity. If you are going to make it in this business you have to be fast and good. Otherwise you are mowing for the fun of it.

ucfbrian
03-04-2008, 01:45 PM
Husqvarna offers a 48" and a 52" hydro walk behind with a floating deck that is easily adjustable. It is as easy to change the height on it as a zero turn.

http://www.usa.husqvarna.com/products_product_details.aspx?pid=11729


Yeah speaking of this topic I have been thinking of running ZTR's on a lot of our houses. I know several that we could do it on and get away with it. But it does take up a lot of room on the trailer. Also I HATE CHANGING THE HEIGHT. Someone has to come up with a better way to change the height. At least on my Lesco it's annoying.

But like I said and the other guy said the cut is just not the same.

cgaengineer
03-04-2008, 01:49 PM
I chose a WB because of the following

Cost less to purchase
Can walk or ride
Dont have to climb up or out to pickup rocks, dog toys and sticks.
One handed operation with T2 setup
Handles steep hills with ease (less rollover potential)
Lighter weight (Less compaction)
Mower sits out farther to reach under low trees and bushes
Mowing rougher terrain is easier on body as I can walk

If I had larger areas I would consider, but would likely just get a larger WB or a stander.

ucfbrian
03-04-2008, 01:50 PM
I prefer WB's but on my larger wide open accounts i wish I could sit down rather than stand on a velke for 2 hrs. at a time! WB's are so much more versatile when it comes to tight spaces and hilly terrian. I have seen somebody that makes a seat that mounts to a velke/jungle wheel,etc. I wish I could remember who makes it. That would make those large spaces alot more easy to do! Overall, it just depends on what type of accounts you service.

Jungle wheels offers a seat attachment for there jungle wheels. I can ship if you do not have a dealer in your area.

http://www.junglejimsap.com/junglewheels.html

Roger
03-04-2008, 02:03 PM
I have both (36" w/b" and 48" ZTR). I work solo, so have a smaller operation than most on LS. I worked with the w/b for many years, and then sprung for the ZTR less than two seasons ago. I still use the w/b for at least 50% of the time. The primary reason is terrain. The ZTR simply will not go places where the w/b will go with ease. Also, the ZTR will tear up turf on terrain where it will go, but shouldn't be driven.

Riding is not all it is cracked up to be. I use the ZTR on the larger properties, but most of them are pretty rough. The back takes a beating while riding on the seat. Yes, productivity may be better (about 30% better on average between those two mowers), but the ZTR is not nearly as nimble and flexible. It feels like driving a tank, after working the w/b.

In my case, the economic justification for adding the ZTR isn't reasonable. The ZTR doesn't turn enough additional income to span the gap of purchase and maintenance of another machine. However, I was to a point of needing a w/b replacement, unless I cut down on the hours of use per season -- the large properties were the ones generating the high service hours. So, the useful life of the w/b has been extended. Plus, I was getting pushed from others about "riding" at my age. Maybe I've extended my own lifespan in the business by riding part of the time, but that is questionable.

hackitdown
03-04-2008, 03:02 PM
In my area most lawns are quite large. We have 2 acre minimum lot size on new construction. I usually work solo. I used to max out at 8 lawns per day with the 48" WB w/sulky. I can do 10 per day with a 52" ZTR, and I am far less tired riding. The ZTR is an excellent fall leaf cleanup machine. I can tow a 48" aerator behind it. It has elec start. I can change cutting height in 10 seconds. It goes 12 mph when cutting conditions allow, and 12 mph when zipping back to the trailer or to dump clippings. It goes in reverse...fast.

But it cost 3 times as much to buy.

landscaper22
03-04-2008, 03:25 PM
This could be another one of those things where your area makes a difference. I will say that in my area, you don't see many WBs any more. 6-8 years ago you did see more of them. Now you don't. The terrain in my area is not too bad. I guess people have realized that they can ride for just a little more money.

tyaroch
03-04-2008, 04:45 PM
This topic has accumulated more opinions than I thought. I can see how on some turf how the weight could be a problem because of breaking the grass off or hurting the root system. Cool!

RacersLawnCare
03-04-2008, 06:19 PM
i agree i live in WV try using a zero turn on a hill as steep as these here and you will worship the walk behind*

bladecutter582
03-04-2008, 07:59 PM
I'm finding myself spending to much time on this website.

I picked up a yard today simply because the lady was tired to the other guy tearing up her yard with his Z. I walked around and saw several places where it looked liked he didn't't know how to turn it. True enough this yard was lost because---

1. He was in too big a hurry
2. Quality has over time (according to her) gone out the window
3. Wrong piece of equipment for the job.
4. Not having the right piece of equipment for the job
5. Probably has taken on to many accounts and has started feeling to comfortable with the account
6. Slope in the yard was reason enough to justify a WB

I'm just getting started in the business and have been reading a lot of this over the past year and I'm using you guys to show me how your failing and try to do the opposite.
I may fall flat on my face this year but I'll try to live up to original concept as to how I intend to carry myself. TREAT EVERYONE'S YARD AS IF IT WERE MY OWN-- and I really like my yard.:walking:

bladecutter582
03-04-2008, 08:05 PM
I'm finding myself spending to much time on this website.

I picked up a yard today simply because the lady was tired to the other guy tearing up her yard with his Z. I walked around and saw several places where it looked liked he didn't't know how to turn it. True enough this yard was lost because---

1. He was in too big a hurry
2. Quality has over time (according to her) gone out the window
3. Wrong piece of equipment for the job.
4. Not having the right piece of equipment for the job
5. Probably has taken on to many accounts and has started feeling to comfortable with the account
6. Slope in the yard was reason enough to justify a WB

I'm just getting started in the business and have been reading a lot of this over the past year and I'm using you guys to show me how your failing and try to do the opposite.
I may fall flat on my face this year but I'll try to live up to original concept as to how I intend to carry myself. TREAT EVERYONE'S YARD AS IF IT WERE MY OWN-- and I really like my yard.:walking:

Military Lawns
03-04-2008, 08:12 PM
Here in Central Florida we mainly have two types of grass, St. Augustine and Bahia. I use the ZTR on Bahia because I can adjust the height on the cut. The EverRide will put a smooth cut on some Bahia. I use my W/B on everything else unless I am cutting a large yard or some commercial joints. My W/B is a float deck it just takes a little more time to adjust. Now, I can use it on Bahia if my ZTR is ever in the shop.

I went with a ZTR because the float decks are just as expensive as a ZTR and a little slower. Strictly from economies of scale it made sense to purchase a ZTR mower.(Note: I purchased my float deck used). I like that I am able to adjust the height on a cut on the fly.

DJ-

landscaper22
03-04-2008, 10:56 PM
I personally find that the only yards I tear with my Z are yards with very poor drainage. However, these same yards would be messed up no matter what type of mower I use, even my 21". I have a couple of yards that during a certain time of year, my shoe sinks into the ground when I walk over certain areas. These customers understand the problem and don't blame me if my mower leaves a place in there yard.
I know a Z can and does leave ruts if you don't alternate cutting patterns. And I also know that not everyone will be happy if you use a heavy Z on their property. I personally do want to treat each and every customer's lawn like or better than my own. If the price is right I will cut the lawn with scissors..LOL...I will do what ever they want as long as they realize one thing...The longer I spend at their property the more they have to pay. It is not like I have that many A+++ quality lawns anyway. The ones I do have, I use my 21" on. These people have the money to spend, and the want to do whatever it takes to keep their lawn in A+++ condition. The C+ and B- quality property owners are not usually that concerned about the occasional small imperfection. Because the property is already in less than perfect condition. My customers are happy to find a LCO that is nice, dependable, reliable, and strives to do a great job. If I thought Zs were creating a huge problem, then I would not use them.

For Raceslawncare and others in the mountain area, I can really see where WBs are the way to go. Zs and steep slopes don't go very well together. :laugh: That is why I said earlier that this issue, like so many other issues, does in fact vary by location.

FinerCutslawnCare
03-04-2008, 11:46 PM
sometimes guys that are in tight spaces can't turn a heavy z-turn without tearing up the grass as to with a wb it is alot easier and lighter. PLus the quality of cut is better i think(like a 21 or 36 on a smaller yard, looks better)

RGM
03-04-2008, 11:48 PM
Some days I like to go out with just the truck so I take the walk behind a trimmer and a blower

Chilehead
03-04-2008, 11:57 PM
Walk-behinds excel on slopes and on wet, soft ground. I had even thought of tricking out my WB with low-profile wheels/tires like what Walker offers as an option on their mowers--for ultimate floatation.

barefeetny
03-05-2008, 12:44 AM
because if i'm going faster then 10 mph i might get vertigo and fall off...

because its cheaper, easier to fix, better for small yards and cut quality....

I don't rush so why would I need something that go's 14mph...

wide open spaces.... 100 accounts...yes...